Merton Council have reaffirmed their commitment to tackling climate change with a £2 million investment in climate action. The announcement of the new funds – made at the first meeting of the council’s new Cabinet on Monday (27 June) by the Council Leader, Councillor Ross Garrod – comes during London Climate Action Week (25 June – 3 July), and it is addition to the £2 million which was allocated in the most recent Climate Delivery Plan back in February.
This new money will help the council work towards its targets of becoming a net-zero emissions organisation by 2030, and to make Merton a net-zero emissions borough by 2050. These targets were set out in the council’s Climate Strategy and Action Plan, which also details the key actions required to get to net-zero carbon across four thematic areas: the Green Economy, Buildings and Energy, Transport and Greening Merton.
The Climate Strategy and Action plan is also clear that the council is directly responsible for only around 2% of the borough’s emissions. Therefore, whilst there is important work to be done to decarbonise the council’s operations, it is vital that everyone in the borough plays a part if the 2050 target is to be met.
In recognition of the fact that 98% of the borough’s emissions are outside of their direct control, the council have been enacting policies that aim to make it easier than ever before for residents and businesses to make environmentally friendly choices. In March, it was announced that £750,000 would be invested in on street electric vehicle (EV) charging, with the aim of ensuring that most residential roads with no off-street parking will have at least one EV charging point. For businesses, the council recently launched a trial cargo bike courier service, making carbon-free deliveries a reality.
The new investment will allow the council to continue to create behaviour-changing programmes like these, that bring us closer to net-zero emissions.
Councillor Natasha Irons, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Local Environment, Green Spaces and Climate, said: “Since the council declared a climate emergency in 2019 we have made progress towards our goals of getting both the council and the borough to net-zero emissions.
“The targets we have set ourselves are ambitious and we must go further and faster if we are to end the climate crisis. Without the funding and leadership from national government, it falls to us to step up in anyway we can to tackle climate change. This additional £2 million demonstrates our commitment to decarbonising our council and supporting our community led climate action plan. If you’d like to get involved in climate action in Merton, visit merton.gov.uk/climatechange”